Alex Megos makes second ascent of Sharma's Sleeping Lion

© @marcozanone

Alex Megos has made the second ascent of Sleeping Lion (9b+), in Siurana - Valley, Spain. 

First climbed by Chris Sharma in March 2023, Sleeping Lion comprises forty metres of climbing that breaks down into five distinct sections, each of which is separated by a poor rest.

Sharma described these sections, which consist of a Font 7B/+, three 8A's, and an 8A+, as 'stylistically various, involving techy heel hooks, punchy dynos on steep terrain, and tenuous face climbing on small edges'.

Initially graded 9b+, Megos came close to climbing the route on his sixth day on it, before eventually making the first repeat on his eighth day on the route, and consequently suggesting a grade of 9b. More repeats will be required in order to reach a consensus grade, but even if Megos' downgrade stands, Sharma's ascent would remain his hardest in eight years, with his last ascent at 9b being El Bon Combat in 2015.

Sleeping Lion also represents somewhat of a return to form for Megos, who spent the best part of the past year focusing on competitions rather than rock, and recently shared on Instagram that he'd been unable to do any of his 'major outdoor projects' in 2023, and that the first part of 2024 would also see him focus primarily on competition climbing.

Speaking about his ascent, Alex said:

'Also, a comp year can start with a hard route outside! Really glad it worked out to send this one, before the indoor training begins. Thanks Chris Sharma for yet another great line!'

'The first few days I only checked out sections of the route, feeling confident that I'll climb it in two weeks. After falling four times on the last move and actually being very surprised how pumpy the last few moves were coming from the ground, I understood my first impression was a little deceiving'.

'In the end it took me eight days and I would suggest 9b, as both the 9b+'s I did took me at least twice as long. Very happy to hear what other repeaters will say in the future!'

Alex's focus will now turn to the Paris Olympics. Whilst he is yet to qualify, Alex had a strong year in 2023, finishing no lower than fifth place in the five lead world cups and world championships that he competed in, whilst also registering his joint second best boulder performance ever, with an eighth place finish in Innsbruck. His next chance to qualify will be as part of the Olympic Qualifier Series, which begins in May in Shanghai.

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